Dong Ha, Quang Tri (5 September 2014)
Fifteen technicians from the Technology Centre for Bomb and Mine Disposal (BOMICEN) have just finished a five-day training course organized by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) using experience and expertise from Project RENEW.
The training is part of a BOMICEN’s Pilot Land Release Project to be implemented in Ha Tinh Province with funding from the U.S through IC-VVAF, and technical support from NPA and Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). The aim of the project is to pilot a survey process using the methodology developed by NPA from the implementation of Cluster Munitions Remnants Survey (CMRS) in two province of Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue. CMRS is a survey methodology that targets cluster munitions during the technical survey process, and when conducting clearance of these areas, operational teams remove all forms of unexploded ordnances (UXO) in the process. Through this process, the extent of the cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination can be estimated, and subsequently clearance requirements can be established.
The training course was facilitated by NPA Technical Advisor, Mr. Christopher Ramsden and Project RENEW’s senior managers including Operations Manager Dinh Ngoc Vu and Community Support Team Leader Nguyen Duc Hoa. Retired Senior Col. Phan Duc Tuan, Advisor to the Office of 504 Committee and Nguyen Thu Ha, Program Officer from VVAF also took part in the training as advisors.
In one week, trainees were introduced to the best practices in non-technical survey methods, steps to collect and process information and information management software such as NPA’s TechBase and Arc GIS. In addition, they were exposed to interview techniques and skills, public communication and how to use GPS devices.
“One of the best written, this process abides by international practice and is relevant to Vietnam’s conditions. It is easy to apply this process to quickly produce results which help planners to reduce areas that need clearance, thus will save substantial costs for UXO clearance,” said Snr Col. Phan Duc Tuan.
According to RENEW CST Team Leader Nguyen Duc Hoa, lead instructor during the week, “Apart from professional content, we have built a co-working relationship and friendship through the training. I hope the partnership between BOMICEN and NPA/RENEW will develop for the same goal of addressing UXO threat.”
“BOMICEN worked closely with the RENEW CST staff in both theoretical activities in the classroom and practical exercises during the training. They then participated in actual non-technical survey operations with RENEW CST in the field. I was very impressed with BOMICEN’s capacity to think laterally and adapt quickly to such a different methodology,” said NPA Technical Advisor Mr. Christopher Ramsden. “I must give credit to firstly the RENEW staff, their example and professionalism. Secondly, to the support from retired Snr Col. Tuan, a former BOMICEN member and now a consultant to the VVAF-IC who gave great assistance to help close the gap between military thinking towards mine action and the humanitarian perspective.”